Hulleman & Barron (2015). Motivation Interventions in Education: Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice.

Hulleman, C. S., & Barron, K. E. (2015). Motivation Interventions in Education: Bridging Theory, Research, and Practice. In L. Corno & E. M. Anderman (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (pp. 160–171). Routledge.
[These notes are from the published version of the same paper noted earlier in this blog. The page numbers have been updated to reflect the book pagination. –oki]

“…we consider the case for intervention research as a bridge between motivation theory and research, on the one hand, and practice, on the other.” (p 160)

[“Part I: Motivation Research in Education: The Case for Interventions” …]

“… research is motivated by three major goals: to describe, predict, or explain human behavior.” (p 160)

“Research on self-efficacy and value reveals that both generally decline as students progress through school (e.g., Jacobs, Lanza, Osgood, Eccles, & Wigfield, 2002), and that self-efficacy and value predict unique educational outcomes. Self-efficacy is generally a [page break] stronger predictor of performance outcome such as grades and standardized test scores, whereas value is a stronger predictor of continued course taking and interest in that subject (for reviews see Wigfield & Eccles, 2000; Wigfield & Cambria, 2010; this volume).” (p 161)

“… more important reason to conduct intervention research is to operationalize our theoretical constructs as potential educational practices that boost motivation and learning.” (p 161)

“The research methods selected have clear implications for the conclusions that can be drawn from the work (Barron, Brown, Egan, Gesualdi, & Marchuk, 2008; Harackiewicz & Barron, 2004). Most notably is the tradeoff between cause and effect (i.e., internal validity) and generalizability (i.e., external validity; Shadish et al., 2002).” (p 161)

“… Cialdini’s (1980; Mortensen & Cialdini, 2010) … [page break] By starting and ending in naturalistic field settings, Cialdini argued we would have a better model for theory-building and theory-testing, integrating both basic and applied research to solve real-world problems.” (p 161-162)

[“Part II: Motivation Interventions in Education: An Overview” …]

“… targeted interventions that leverage precise psychological mechanisms to enhance subsequent learning outcomes (for reviews, see Lazowski & Hulleman, 2013; Yeager & Walton, 2011 ). … more comprehensive interventions that integrate multiple motivation components and often leverage motivation alongside specific curricular content (e.g., literacy) or pedagogical practices (e.g., cooperative learning) to enhance specific academic knowledge and skills (e.g., Guthrie, Wigfield, & VonSecker, 2000; Martin, 2008).” (p 162)

[“Targeted Motivation Interventions” …]

“… organized targeted student motivation interventions into four main areas … Pintrich’s (2003, p. 627, Table 2) review of motivation research in education: expectancy and control beliefs, interest and value, and goals. … psychological costs of engaging in academic tasks (Barron & Hulleman, in press; Eccles et al., 1983), such as the anxiety and stress that students face when they experience fear of failure or stereotype threat …” (p 162)

[“Expectancy and Control Beliefs Interventions” …]

“… students feel more confident to learn and achieve in a specific academic context and to be in control of producing their achievement outcomes. … perceived competence to perform specific academic tasks (e.g., self-efficacy, competence [page break] beliefs), to obtain a specific performance level (e.g., expectancies, outcome expectations), perceptions of the reasons students succeed or fail on academic tasks (e.g., attributions), and how much control they have to create a positive outcome. Although numerous theoretical approaches exist (Bandura, 1997; Eccles (Parsons) et al., 1983; Pekrun, 2006; Skinner, 1996; Weiner, 2010), the general idea is that students who believe they have more expectancy and control over their behavior and learning are more successful.” (p 162-163)

“… growth mindset (i.e., belief that intelligence increases over time by engaging in challenging learning activities) … By helping students understand that being challenged can facilitate their learning, an intervention that targets growth mindsets enhances confidence in the ability to learn and achieve performance outcomes.” (p 163)

“For example, intervention work aimed at changing students’ perceived control have focused primarily on changing cognitive attributions. Many of these interventions provide students with training about ascribing academic success to things that are within their control (e.g., effort) and that academic difficulties can be overcome. These control-enhancing interventions have been found to be successful in increasing perceived academic control, which in turn mediate effects on improved academic motivation and achievement outcomes (e.g., Hall, Hladkyj, Perry, & Ruthig, 2004; Perry, Stupnisky, Hall, Chipperfield, & Weiner, 2010). … sought to alter the attributions that low performing students made regarding their academic achievement from one of low ability to one underscoring the importance of effort.” (p 163)

“The perception of choice can also enhance students’ perceived control, motivation, and subsequent learning outcomes (Lepper & Henderlong, 2000). For example, Patall, Cooper, and Wynn (2010) randomly assigned high school students to receive a choice of homework assignments or no choice. Students in the choice condition had higher self-reported intrinsic motivation and perceived competence, and also performed better on the unit exam, than students [page break] in the no choice condition. … perceived choice condition boosted students’ depth of processing, persistence, and test performance compared to the no-choice condition.” (p 163)

[“Value and Interest Interventions” …]

“This category of interventions targets students’ perceptions of the reasons why they see value and meaning in an academic activity. … A number of theoretical frameworks outline the importance of value and interest, including the expectancy-value framework (e.g., Eccles, 1983), self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), and interest theory (Hidi & Renninger, 2006). Students could perceive value for an activity because it is fun and enjoyable (e.g., intrinsic value, interest, intrinsic motivation), an important part of their sense of self (e.g., attainment value, integrated regulation), a means to attaining an important current or future goal (e.g., utility value, identified regulation), a way of pleasing others (e.g., introjected regulation), or a way to obtain a reward or avoid a punishment (e.g., extrinsic motivation) (Hulleman, Barron, Kosovich, & Lazowski, in press).” (p 163)

“Field interventions that target utility value tend to emphasize the usefulness and relevance of learning material for the [page break] student’s present and future life, and have found that these interventions enhance both intrinsic motivation and achievement (e.g., Hulleman & Harackiewicz, 2009; Oyserman, Terry, & Bybee, 2002; Yeager et al., 2014). Interventions focusing on extrinsic motivation demonstrate that tangible, extrinsic rewards can undermine students’ motivation to engage in academic tasks, particularly if the rewards are unrelated to future task engagement (e.g., Marinak & Gambrell, 2008), if the task is already interesting to students (e.g., Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 2001), and are perceived as controlling or are expected (e.g., Reeve et al., 2002).” (p 163-164)

[“Goal Interventions” …]

“This category of interventions targets the goals that students set for themselves in the academic context. … the reason behind the goal pursuit, such as whether students are trying to learn and develop skills (mastery goals), perform better than others (performance goals), or achieve a set performance level (outcome goals) …” (p 164)

“Linnenbrink (2005) classified teachers as being more mastery-focused, performance-focused, or both goal focused, and then structured small-group activities in each classroom to be consistent with the teacher’s observed achievement goal profile. This quasi-experimental design revealed that students whose teachers and cooperative learning groups emphasized learning strategies consistent with both mastery and performance goals had the best outcomes.” (p 164)

“… undergraduate students … Students who were randomly assigned to committing to a specific time and place to work on the report were more likely to complete the report than those who were simply asked to commit to turning the report in by a specific date (Gollwitzer & Brandstatter, 1997). … Similarly, Morisano and colleagues (Morisano, Hirsh, Peterson, Pihl, & Shore, 2010) developed an online goal setting program that guides students through steps for setting personal goals with detailed strategies for achievement. In comparison to a control condition that received questionnaires about positive psychology and wrote about past experiences, students randomly assigned to the goal setting condition demonstrated higher academic performance and retention.” (p 164)

[“Psychological Cost Interventions” …]

“… stereotype threat, this cost can undermine academic performance and persistence, resulting in a sorting mechanism that reduces minority success and completion rates in high school and college (Steele, 1997)…. By writing about their most important values, students affirmed core aspects of themselves, which serves as a buffer against threats occurring in another domain.” (p 164)

“… students can also experience psychological cost if they feel anxious about not belonging or fitting in with other students. … belonging uncertainty …” (p 165)

“… Ramirez and Beilock (2011) randomly assigned high school students to write about their exam related worries (intervention condition) or to write about something not related to the exam (control condition). Highly anxious students in the intervention condition outperformed those in the control condition.” (p 165)

[“Summary” …]

“This research evidence, which demonstrates that targeted psychological interventions can have significant and meaningful impacts on students’ educational outcomes, should energize the field to translate theoretical constructs into interventions that can lead to changes in educational practice.” (p 165)

[“Multi-Component Motivation Interventions” …]

“Designed using an integrative motivation and engagement framework known as The Wheel (Martin, 2008), this intervention targets students’ adaptive and maladaptive behaviors and cognitions. … self-efficacy and mastery (expectancy and control beliefs); valuing (value and interest); anxiety, failure avoidance, uncertain control, self-handicapping, and disengagement (cost); and persistence, planning, and task management (learning skills).” (p 165)

[“Part III: Motivation Interventions in Education: Two Case Studies” …]

[“The Utility Value Intervention” …]

“The utility value intervention is grounded in the expectancy-value framework of student motivation (Eccles (Parsons) et al., 1983)…. In the expectancy-value framework, student motivation to learn is a function of two components: how well we expect to do on the task (expectancy) and how valuable the outcomes of task engagement are perceived to be (value).” (p 166)

“The findings revealed that students who wrote about the personal relevance of the technique reported more utility value for math at the end of the session, and were more interested in learning more mental math techniques …” (p 166)

[“Implications for Theory and Research” …]

“… our results challenge how expectancies and values contribute to motivation by revealing an interaction between value and expectancy.” (p 167)

[“Implications for Practice” …]

“… our recommendations are not so simple as to say that utility value interventions are good for everyone. Instead, it is important to be mindful of individual differences when employing strategies intended to enhance motivation (cf. Berliner, 2002; Daniel, 2012). Further, the utility value interventions presented here provide an exemplar case for teachers to consider including in their teaching practices.” (p 167)

[“The Carnegie Community College Intervention” …]

“… can targeting a single construct, such as utility value, create change in a more pervasive and complex problem, such as low persistence and graduation rates in community college?” (p 167)

“… students’ motivation and strategies to persist through learning challenges, called productive persistence, was defined according to five general psychological constructs: study skills, expectancy beliefs, value, belonging, and faculty support of students’ skills and mindsets.” (p 168)

[“Implications for Theory and Research” …]

“… Dweck’s growth mindset intervention has now been scaled up in hundreds of community college classrooms, and is serving as a contributing factor to the success of the program. … current research in the network is examining different ways in which instructors might reinforce student growth mindsets via daily interactions, email communications, and performance feedback (J. Myung, personal communication, October 1, 2014).” (p 168)

[“Implications for Practice” …]

[“Part IV: Conclusion” …]

“What is needed are interventions, designed to target motivational constructs and processes, that in turn enhance educational outcomes.” (p 168)

Selected references

  • Barron, K. E., Brown, A. R., Egan, T. E., Gesualdi, C. R., & Marchuk, K. A. (2008). Validity. In S. F. Davis & W. Buskist (Eds.), 21st century psychology: A reference handbook (pp. 55-64). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Barron, K. E., & Hulleman, C. S. (in press). Expectancy-Value-Cost model of motivation. To appear in J. D. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd Edition). Oxford: Elsevier Ltd.
  • Berliner, D. C. (2002). Comment: Educational research: The hardest science of all. Educational Researcher, 31(8), 18-20.
  • Cialdini, R. B. (1980). Full-cycle social psychology. Applied Social Psychology Annual, 1, 21-47.
  • Daniel, D. B. (2012). Promising principles: Translating the science of learning to educational practice. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 1(4), 251-253.
  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Self‐determination. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Dweck, C.S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis/Psychology Press.
  • Eccles (Parsons), J. S.,Adler, T. F., Futterman, R., Goff, S. B., Kaczala, C. M., Meece, J. L., & Midgley, C. . (1983). Expectancies, values, and academic behaviors. In J. T. Spence (Ed.), Achievement and achievement motivation (pp. 75-146). San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman.
  • Gollwitzer, P. M., & Brandstätter, V. (1997). Implementation intentions and effective goal pursuit. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(1), 186-199.
  • Hall, N. C., Hladkyj, S., Perry, R. P., & Ruthig, J. C. (2004). The role of attributional retraining and elaborative learning in college students’ academic development. The Journal of Social Psychology, 144(6), 591-612.
  • Harackiewicz, J.M., & Barron, K.E. (2004). Conducting social psychological research in educational settings: “Lessons we learned in school”. In C. Sansone, C. Morf, & A. Panter (Eds.) Handbook of methods in social psychology (pp. 471-484). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 111-127.
  • Jacobs, J. E., Lanza, S., Osgood, D. W., Eccles, J. S., & Wigfield, A. (2002). Changes in children’s self-competence and values: Gender and domain differences across grades one through twelve. Child Development, 73, 509-527.
  • Lepper, M. R., & Henderlong, J. (2000). Turning” play” into” work” and” work” into” play”: 25 years of research on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. In C. Sansone & J. M. Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance (pp. 257-307). New York: Academic Press.
  • Linnenbrink, E. A. (2005). The dilemma of performance-approach goals: The use of multiple goal contexts to promote students’ motivation and learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, 197–213.
  • Martin, A. J. (2008). Enhancing student motivation and engagement: The effects of a multidimensional intervention. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33, 239-269.
  • Morisano, D., Hirsh, J. B., Peterson, J. B., Pihl, R. O., & Shore, B. M. (2010). Setting, elaborating, and reflecting on personal goals improves academic performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 416(839), 4291.
  • Perry, R. P., Stupnisky, R. H., Hall, N. C., Chipperfield, J. G., & Weiner, B. (2010). Bad starts and better finishes: Attributional retraining and initial performance in competitive achievement settings. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29(6), 668-700.
  • Pintrich, P. R. (2003). A motivational science perspective on the role of student motivation in learning and teaching contexts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(4), 667-686.
  • Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Steele, C. M. (1997). A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist, 52(6), 613-629.
  • Weiner, B. (2010). The development of an attribution-based theory of motivation: A history of ideas. Educational Psychologist, 45(1), 28-36.
  • Wigfield, A., & Cambria, J. (2010). Students’ achievement values, goal orientations, and interest: Definitions, development, and relations to achievement outcomes. Developmental Review, 30, 1-35.
  • Wigfield, A., & Eccles, J. S. (2000). Expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 68-81.
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